Sunday, 31 May 2015

Beef and green peppers with black bean sauce and egg fried rice - Gluten Free

Beef with green peppers and black bean sauce & egg friend rice
One of my favourite take away dishes before my gluten free days was beef and green peppers in black bean sauce. Unfortunately, due to the soy sauce, you can rarely find a gluten free version. I love recreating Chinese dishes at home. You can recreate the flavour of your favourite Chinese takeaway classics but making it from scratch gives it a real freshness. I was amazed at how authentic this tasted. The people at Tilda sent me some wholegrain and wild rice which you can stir fry straight from the packet. If you want to make the rice yourself, just cook basmati rice for around 8 mins, drain and spread out on a plate and leave to cool. As everything is fairly quick cook, you're better preparing everything ready to go. I'll give you the steps for the rice and then the beef to make it clear, but as we're only looking at a few minutes cooking time you need to do both at once.

Ingredients (serves 2):
For the egg fried rice:

  • 150g cooked rice
  • An egg, whisked
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
For the beef and green peppers in black bean sauce:
  • Thumb sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed,
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced
  • 1 pak choi, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 green pepper, roughly sliced into squares
  • 350g beef, thinly sliced into strips
  • 1.5 tbsp fermented black beans, rinsed (local Asian grocery shop will stock)
  • 150ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp corn flour mixed with 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

To make the egg fried rice put a wok on a high heat and add the sesame oil. Add the cooked rice and break up with a wooden spoon, Keep it moving round the pan. After a couple of minutes, add the spring onions and fry for a couple more minutes. Push the rice and spring onions to the edge of the wok and add the egg to the middle of the pan, leave for around 30 seconds to cook, then break up with a wooden spoon and mix together. Finally add the soy sauce and fry for another couple of minutes, or until a some of the rice has started to crisp up.

To make the beef in black bean sauce, put a frying pan on a high heat and add the oil. Now add the ginger, garlic and spring onions and fry for a minute. Add the green pepper and beef strips, fry for another minute to sear the beef. Now add the black beans and pak choi and keep everything moving in the pan for another minute. Now add around 100ml of the vegetable stock, followed by the corn flour mix. Check the consistency of the sauce, if it's too thick and some more of the vegetable stock. Cook for another minute to bring everything together and then serve alongside the rice.

You don't need to be overly precise with the times, the key is to have the wok and frying pan on a really high heat and keep things moving so they don't catch. Hope you enjoy, we certainly did!

Saturday, 23 May 2015

No.1 Cromer, Norfolk

After reading the Fabulously Free From blog on Eric's  in Norfolk I had a craving for fish and chips. Although becoming more common, gluten free fish and chips have been hard to come by. Some places are grasping on to the increasing popularity of gluten free diets, but don't provide dedicated fryers, which doesn't help a coeliac like me. Eric's was a little far for us to drive this time, but we vowed to make a trip soon. Instead, we headed out to Cromer, about a 40 minute drive from Norwich. 40 minutes might seem a long way to drive for fish and chips but trust me, these were well worth the effort!

No.1 Cromer is a relatively new venture by the extremely talented chef Galton Blackiston owner of the Michelin starred Morston Hall in Norfolk. There's a traditional take away, an eat in restaurant and a more modern take on British cuisine available in the upstairs restaurant. We were here for one thing and one thing only though, gluten free fish and chips! We phoned in advance as many places only do gluten free options on certain nights but were informed that No.1 Cromer did them all the time. We took a seat in the window looking out to sea and the Cromer pier. We both ordered gluten free cod and chips with a side of mushy peas. I think the peas had a sort of mint sauce running through it which wasn't gluten free so they provided ours without this. The waitress was well informed and took great care. The fish and chips were certainly well worth the trip! A crisp, crunchy gluten free batter coated a beautifully cooked, succulent piece of cod. The chips were proper chip shop chips. There's a time for the triple cooked ones and there's a time for skinny ones, but when you're having fish and chips, they need to be proper chip shop chips! It came with a creamy tartar sauce, in my view the perfect accompaniment, and a tasty tin of mushy peas. The portions are big too, we were saving room for ice cream but were too full by the end!

Gluten free Cod & Chips at No.1 Cromer

Friday, 15 May 2015

Sausage, leek and fennel pasta

Waste not want not! I realised that I used half a packet of sausages in the last recipe I posted, so I thought it would be remiss of me not to give you another recipe to use the rest of the pack! This is another quick and simple pasta recipe which is great for a mid-week meal. Sausages and fennel seeds go great together, the fennel seeds offering little pops of flavour, added chilli flakes provide a gentle heat.

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 3 sausages (or the rest of your pack of Debbie & Andrews gluten free ones!)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 6 spring onions, finely chopped (keep the white parts separate from the green)
  • 1 large leek, finely chopped
  • 75ml white wine
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 150g pasta (I used Juvela gluten free fusilli)
  • Handful of grated Parmesan
  • Salt and pepper
Put a frying pan on a medium heat. Put a slit in the sausages and squeeze out the sausage meat into the pan. As it fries, break it up with a wooden spoon, moving it around so it browns evenly. This should take around 4 or 5 mins. Add the fennel seeds and chilli flakes, followed by the clove of garlic and whites of the spring onions. Now add the chopped leek (you may need a little oil depending on how much fat was in the sausages). Keep stirring to partly cook the leeks and onions for another 3 or 4 mins. Now add the white wine and reduce the heat to a simmer whilst you get the pasta on. Drop the pasta into salted boiling water and cook for 8 - 10 mins or according to the packet. Whilst your leeks and pasta cook, you can make the sauce. Simply spoon the sour cream into a small bowl and whisk in the egg. When your pasta is cooked, drain and add leek mixture and bring it all together. You can now add the green parts of your spring onions so they give a little texture. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the sour cream mix. Keep stirring to distribute evenly and then season with freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle over the Parmesan.

Sorry - we ate this one too quickly for a photo! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Monday, 11 May 2015

Vodka, chilli, sausage arrabiata with spaghetti

I don't often blog recipes, usually because we're working through a growing mountain of recipe books and magazines, so usually, I can't take credit. I can't wholly take credit for this one either though. It's inspired by Jamie Oliver's vodka arrabiata in his America cookbook. I've made a few tweaks though and I think this version tastes even better! Plus an instagram follower asked me to blog it, so here we go:

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 3 sausages (I used Debbie and Andrews gluten free ones)
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 2 red chillies, finely chopped (de-seed if you don't like it hot!)
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 30ml vodka
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • Small bunch of parsley, stalks finely chopped and leaves picked
  • 150g spaghetti (I used Juvela gluten free spaghetti)
Put a frying pan on a medium heat. Put a slit in the sausages and squeeze out the sausage meat into the pan. As it fries, break it up with a wooden spoon, moving it around so it browns evenly. This should take around 4 or 5 mins. Next, add the red onion, chilli and red pepper (add a little oil if needed) and soften for a further 3 mins. Now add the anchovy fillets, break these up with the spoon, then add your tomato purée. Now it's time to add the vodka, cherry tomatoes and parsley stalks. Reduce the heat to simmer whilst you cook your pasta. Drop your pasta into a large pan of boiling water and boil for 8 - 10 mins or according to the packet. Add a couple of tablespoons of the cooking water from the pasta to the tomato sauce just to give it the right consistency. When the pasta is cooked, drain and add the pasta to the tomato and sausage sauce and mix well. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle over the parsley.